It was 2009, panahon ng Ondoy since my last teaching stint sa mga bata. Kung babalikan ko yung mga panahon na yun, I can say it was not the best of times, obviously. I am an assistant preschool teacher thensa isang community school, and a fresh graduate of an accounting course. I took the teaching offer as my thanksgiving to the Lord for helping me get through college.
Typhoon Ondoy brought me tears while I am in that ministry. The school was submerged in mud and water – makapal na putik mula sa sahig hanggang kisame. Ang mga mesa ay nagkabutas-butas, mga upuan ay nagkabaklas-baklas. Ang mga libro ay humalo na sa putik. Wala na halos mapakinabangan. All the school property was destroyed. The ministry of the school has to respond to a very challenging question: what’s next after Ondoy? We are to start again in the middle of the school year. By God’s grace, my ministry experience as an assistant preschool teacher has experienced formal graduation on March of 2010, as well as my involvement in Children’s teaching ministry.
I was invited to share a familiar gospel story sa isang Children’s event. It was a thrilling experience, siguro dahil di na ako sanay o di talaga ako marunong mag-make face o magmodulate ng boses pambata. Pero overall, the experience made me think of important lessons in the ministry:
1. If you want a glimpse of the future, look at the kids.
Masarap balikan ang mga panahon natin (kung part ka ng 90s kids or earlier) kung saan napakasimple ng buhay. Naglalaro lang tayo ng mga lata at tsinelas, mga goma, balat ng kendi o ng mga pinitas na dahon masaya na tayo. Minsan nga di na natin kailangan ng props – habulan, taguan at asaran lang solb na. Pero aminin na natin na parte na lang yun ng ala-ala natin at tayo ay tumatanda na. Kung dati ipis lang ang kilala natin, ngayon ay panahon na ng mga iPad, iPhone at iHop. Dati dumadayo pa tayo sa mga library ngayon ang library ay accessible na in a click or tap. Ang mga laro ay di na masyadong physical but virtual. Kung dati naghahabulan ang mga bata sa kalsada, ngayon ang hinahabol ay kung sino ba ang ama ng bata.
Nagbago na at patuloy na nagbabago ang lahat sa kasalukuyang henerasyon, and before we know it the future has already arrived. We are advancing too fast, real fast.
If you are wondering what kind of future is in store for us, just look at at the kids. They are so intelligent that they can easily operate their gadgets while their parents remain clueless and dumbfounded. They can react accordingly, can reason intelligently and can argue emphatically, minsan dramatically pa nga. Kids today have access to too much information that we ourselves were not able to know during our childhood. Masyado silang matalino. And if our generation, and those before ours, has led us to the technological advancement we are enjoying now, can we imagine where these kids will bring humanity in the near future?
I believe that we can have a glimpse of the future through the eyes of the kids today. What do they possess? What do they value? As far as I can see, the future is exhilarating and full of wonder. Ang mga bagay na parang imposible dati, baka routine na gawain lang nila soon. Yung technology sa Star Wars at Capsule Inc. baka maging totoo na. Overseas travel will be very convenient and communication efficient. The future can be very exciting! However…
2. If you want to make a difference, start with the kids.
This is where the big pause is to be emphasized. Ika nga ni Uncle Ben, with great power comes great responsibility. Kids possess too much potential, but unfortunately they aren’t that responsible yet. They enjoy their resources but has no regard to the ultimate Source. Ang mga pabebe girls nga di na raw mapigilan. So as responsible adults it is our duty to inculcate values which will direct them to the right path.
Sabi sa isang seminar na naattendan ko, “if you want to change the world, begin with the children”. Bakit nga kaya? Because they are the message we bring to the world we will not be able to witness. Sila ang legacy na iiwanan natin. And if we fail to mold them with the right attitudes and values, we are sending the future generations a clear message that we don’t care.
We can clearly notice how the kids of this generation is beginning to dwindle down in terms of values. Kung paanong sumagot sa magulang at sa mga nakatatanda. Minsan nga mas napapasunod pa nila ang mga parents nila. And since they are exposed to the dangers of the world wide web, they are no longer naive to the things that are supposedly for adults only. The world is within their reach and we are losing influence to these kids in every single moment we refuse to invest time in them. Yet they are not without hope. The influence of media and society has no final word on them unless we allow it to. As parents, kuya and ate to these kids, we are bestowed with the privilege to rear them with excellence and positive influence. As we do this humbling task of touching their lives, we are also touching the future.
3. If you want to learn valuable lessons, learn from the kids.
Amazingly, by just observing kids, we can learn life lessons from them. Most of us adults miserably fail at important areas in life. We don’t accept new ideas from others and we are so proud of our own accomplishments. We are sometimes self-centered and preoccupied with unending worry. Yet the humility and teachable heart of a child is remarkable. In fact, even Jesus tells us to learn from the little children if we want to know the kingdom of God.
Kids are naturally full of faith and inspiration. Kapag nagtiwala sila na mangyayari ang isang bagay, in their vocabulary impossible is inexistent. If we’ll just listen to the heart of their prayers we’ll know how much faith they put into it na ito ay mangyayari. Unlike us adults, we keep on worrying.
“Eh ang kaso mga wala pa silang mga muwang sa realidad ng buhay kaya sila ganun”. Siguro nga wala pa silang muwang pero tayo naman, if we put our faith in the Lord like these children, we’ll realize that the reality of Jesus is enough for the reality of this world. The kind of faith our children possess is the epitome of faith God is expecting from us.
Kids are not just additional family members we receive from the Lord – they are treasures whose value never depletes over time. As adults, let us be the instrument of the Lord to shape them into praiseworthy citizens.